PRESS BOX VIEW ? MIRROR

Last updated : 30 January 2006 By editor

‘A crippling injury list and a lack of quality have combined to force the United boss to experiment with different permutations in midfield.

Yesterday, he tried the most imaginative, expensive and dynamic central pairing of all, playing Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney in a £57million United engine room. Neither let him down. Then again, when does Rooney do so these days?

Opposition managers say he would be the best player on the pitch even if he started at left back and yesterday Rooney went a step closer to proving them right.

He played central midfield for 65 minutes and even though Ince managed one sweetly-timed tackle on him, Rooney was otherwise untouchable.

The hard truth for Ince and Hoddle was that the gulf between this unfamiliar United line-up and Wolves was so vast it was impossible to judge whether the visitors are inching towards a solution to their midfield problems.

When at his best, Ferdinand reads the game so well and is so mobile and quick his deployment as a midfield anchor may yet become a selection issue before England's first World Cup match against Paraguay on June 10. Ferdinand would be given a rather sterner test of his suitability to the role if Ferguson picks him in midfield again at Blackburn on Wednesday.’